Fashion forecasting is the prediction of mood, behaviour and buying habits of the consumer. It is no longer a question of identifying your customers by age, geography or income, but looking into how and why they buy, based on their mood, beliefs and the occasion. Fashion is a style that is popular in the present or a set of trends that have been accepted by a wide audience. Fashion is a complex phenomenon from a psychological, sociological, cultural or commercial point of view. Fashion trend is the styling idea that major collections have in common. They indicate the direction in which the fashion is moving. Fashion forecasters look for styles they think are prophetic, ideas that capture the mood of the times and signal a new fashion trend.
Forecasting the future demand for particular styles, fabrics and colours is an important aspect of the fashion industry. Textile specialists work two years ahead to determine the general guidelines for each fashion season. Fashion forecasting is an important activity to ensure that the process of observation related to short and long term planning can be based on sound and rational decision making and not hype. Forecasting can bridge the gap between ambiguous, conflicting signs and the action taken by the design team.
Long term forecasting (over 2 years ahead) is used by executives for corporate planning purposes. It is also used for marketing managers to position products in the marketplace in relationship to competition.
Short term forecasting is used by product developer, merchandiser and production manager to give style direction and shape collections. For short term forecasting most apparel companies subscribe to one or more services, whose job is to scan the market and report on the developments in colour, textiles and style directions.
Fashion forecasting reflects the earliest views on trends some eighteen months in advance of the season. At this stage, colour is a crucial consideration of yarn mills. It is also the focus of discussion among others who are interested in very early trend decision-making. Fashion forecasters combine the views emerging about colour and fabric from the early yarn and fabric trade shows with their socio-economic and cultural analysis. Major trends in lifestyles, attitude and culture in particular music, sport, cinema and television are used to predict changing consumer demands. Fashion forecasting is therefore important in the practice of fashion and fashion design. JD Institute’s M.A. Fashion Communication teaches students the importance of fashion forecasting and how to practice it.